Knuckle Cracking

I'm not a knuckle cracker myself. In fact, I hate it when people crack their knuckles. And I've frequently told people that cracking their knuckles would cause arthritis. After all, that's what everyone says. But according to this NY Times article (republished in the Arizona Republic) it's not true. It's an urban legend.
Just reading this description of what causes knuckles to crack makes me cringe:
The loud pop of a cracked knuckle is caused by synovial fluid, the thick lubricant that surrounds every joint. When the fingers are stretched or bent backward, the bones of the joint pull apart. This creates bubbles of air in the fluid, which subsequently burst.
But as for the evidence that knuckle cracking doesn't cause arthritis, the article cites a 1990 study:
The largest study to explore a link to arthritis was published in 1990 in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. It looked at 300 healthy people older than 45, 74 of them habitual knuckle crackers. The rates of arthritis of the hand were similar in both groups, though the knuckle crackers, on average, had reduced grip strength.
Still, I think I might keep telling people who are cracking their knuckles that it's going to give them arthritis, just to annoy them and maybe scare them into stopping.

Body Manipulation Health/Medicine Urban Legends

Posted on Tue Feb 01, 2005


i think that for people who want to get over the addiction, that everyone has their time. By that i mean that there will be a time where you don't even have to try to stop crakcing. i used to really really really wish that i could stop cracking and got really pissed and everything but now i am starting to just slow the rate of my cracking bit by bit. tongue wink

i used to ask my friens how they got over the addiction, but they just said that they stopped cracking and and don't know how.
i guess i know what they mean now. grin
Posted by Susan is cool  in  Sydney is cool  on  Fri Jul 27, 2007  at  10:53 PM
hey i crack them all the timme and i am so relived that i am safe!!
Posted by Sarah  in  Somewhere over the rainbow...  on  Sat Apr 19, 2008  at  09:30 AM
I have heard somewhere that people who do a lot of typing everyday can develop arthritis. I was reading these articles and am thinking that perhaps knuckle popping can prevent arthritis for those who type a lot? Well in any case, it sure does feel good popping my knuckles. Life is just too short not to experience the good feeling of popping your knuckles.
Posted by Spiderman-freak  in  LA  on  Mon Jul 20, 2009  at  03:31 PM
you knuckle crackers make me want to cut your fucking hands off. Especially when you're on here bragging about it like its so cute. I think I'd feel very good to put my foot up the ass of at least a couple of knuckle crackers every fucking day.
Posted by motherfucker  on  Fri Sep 04, 2009  at  09:29 AM
Knukle poping has not become a real habbit for me, but i've been doing it more and more lately. I've been doing it for at least 2 or 3 year (I know how to crack my wrist knuckles and neck) i've been getting mayjor pains in my neck every time i wake up and I just get it massaged or something to make the pain go away. though every time I crack my wrist it feels really freaky but I can't stop it!...I need some help wink

Lifes small.. live it LARGE :DDD
Posted by J.C  on  Sat Feb 13, 2010  at  11:45 PM
does anyone pop their tailbone??? it started wen i just happened 2 b sitting in my desk, well more like slouching, and my tailbone popped on the bottom edge of the seat; and now i love 2 pop it bcus it feeels amazing! :D
Posted by amy  on  Wed Aug 04, 2010  at  01:22 AM
idk y ppl think its annoying 2 hear someone pop their joints....i cant think of anyway it would b annoying...its not even a weird sound or anything...idk those ppl r weird. maybe they wouldnt mind it so much if they popped a joint themselves! raspberry
Posted by amy  on  Wed Aug 04, 2010  at  01:36 AM
I crack three places in my fingers, two places in my thumbs, my toes, my neck, my shoulders and 4 places in my back. Most of the back and shoulder and neck cracking is while doing yoga or bending over backwards, though and someone said that natural movements won't harm you? I don't know. But I pop my fingers and toes a lot. My fingers pop when I spread them out and pull them back without touching them. I can't stop cracking them. How DO I stop?
Thats 54 joints I can crack(:
Posted by A  in  Michigan  on  Tue Aug 31, 2010  at  10:59 PM
I can pop each finger twice, my back by turning each way, all 10 toes, knees, both ankles, wrists, and elbows. mostly after wAking. used to be able to pop my neck but can't/don't want to. it feels good and does not cause arthritis. from what Iearned in college, any pop that does not hurt is actually somewhat beneficial because it releases calcium. any pop that hurts should be avoided bc this is harmful. I have unintentionally popped since I was a baby; my parents thought something was wrong bc I popped so much. doctors said this was normal. and any people out there who are seriously commenting on this matter and are
rude, arrogant, and have nothing positive to say, then don't comment. It just shows what type of person you are.
Posted by Megan  in  Tennessee  on  Mon Sep 20, 2010  at  11:40 PM
I have been cracking my knuckles for quiet a while now, and am concerned. My fingers have lots of wrinkles and are very pale. Please comment if you have any ideas to help reduce the addiction of cracking knuckles.
Posted by Alissa  in  Canada  on  Tue Mar 29, 2011  at  08:15 PM
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